Changes on the line

With Randy Thomas sidelined, the Redskins will replace him with experience in Ray Brown. But they'll replace Brown with no experience, naming Mark Wilson as the starter.

Mark Wilson, a rookie fifth-round pick from Cal, has worked exclusively on the right side since the season started, but has been active for one game (Detroit) but did not play. Rookie Jim Molinaro has been active for every game, but has worked mostly on the left side since the season began.

And Vaughn Parker is not in shape yet, removing him as an option. Lennie Friedman, at 280 pounds, is too small to play guard.

The problem with Wilson is that he'll be facing an excellent defense on the road in a tough stadium (Pittsburgh). Making matters worse, Wilson looked bad this summer. He was routinely shoved back in preseason games and when he had to pull, he'd get knocked off stride easily.

Some of that goes back to technique and that could be improved -- reporters can't watch practice anymore so it's hard to say if he has gotten better. If he hasn't, watch out.

The Redskins have helped out the right side all season, with tight ends, H-backs and James Thrash blocking there in pass protection. In some ways, Robert Royal has more tackle responsibilities than the tackle does, allowing the tackle to be a wild card blocker at times. Most likely that's what they'll do with Wilson.

Thomas is expected to miss two to four weeks with his strained hamstring. He has not played as well as last season.

. . . Also on the injury front: LaVar Arrington had a good workout Saturday, but it's still uncertain when he'll return. Defensive tackle Jermaine Haley sprained his MCL and is day to day. Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (sprained hip) worked in practice today, but his status won't be determined until later in the week.

There's still no timetable for Phillip Daniels' return from a hamstring injury. Offensive tackle Chris Samuels sprained his ankle again and will be limited in practice this week. Kicker John Hall has improved, but it's still uncertain if he'll play Sunday.


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